South of Johnston
It was the thought of another winter of early morning walks to his old job in Middle Park that led Fitzroy resident Stuart McKenzie to open his own cafe closer to home. After spending numerous weekends trawling the streets of the north side looking for a location, he came across a ‘For Lease’ sign outside an old valve-repackaging factory on Oxford Street, which after a complete transformation at the hands of McKenzie and Carver Design opened its doors under the name South of Johnston – SOJO for short.
Serving classic breakfast dishes with a contemporary twist and a seasonal lunch menu catering for a variety of tastes and dietary requirements, South of Johnston successfully merges a modern eye for style with a charming, country vista. Fruit trees in wooden crates out the front are intended to become an urban orchard with local residents encourage to pick as they pass, while the inclusion of various rural knick knacks, old farming tools, framed pages from vintage cookbooks and a striking, free standing cast-iron fire place have all been carefully considered to ensure the influence never goes overboard.
The layout is made up of various spaces; the pretty outside square, the covered courtyard or the spacious central area. Special mentions from the menu must go to the French toast made with organic brioche and the corn fritters where fresh cobs are oven roasted, yielding smoky kernels served up with coriander, tomato relish, sour cream and grilled bacon or smoked salmon.